10 perfect places to stay with river access within the Scenic Rim

21 Oct 2023
7 mins read
The Scenic Rim beckons with places to stay with river access

Looking for a place to escape the sun? A day spent on jam-packed beaches rarely lives up the cocktail holding, palm-tree waving images the mind dreams of.

However, around an hour’s drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, there’s a haven away from the chaos, where you’re invited to unwind surrounded by World Heritage-listed nature.

Listed by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s Top Ten ‘must-visit’ destinations for 2022, the Scenic Rim beckons with charming retreats just a short stroll from enchanting swimming holes and waterways; all primed for lazy warm days by the water sans crowds.

Wat-er you waiting for? Come and explore some of the best places to stay with river access in the Scenic Rim.

📷 Lachlan Gardiner – spend a magical day drifting down the Albert River at Kerry Valley Secret

Worendo Cottage

Found in the magical valleys of the Lost World region, Worendo Cottages deal a perfect hand of dreamy accommodation, golden country sunsets, nature scenes and water access. A booking into one of their five secluded cottages is a ticket to your own private section of the Albert River and onsite lake. The Worendo experience is based around balancing time inside with time outside, enticing you in with homely cottage interiors and drawing you out with activities like kayaking, fishing, swimming, and trying local produce in their dedicated riverside picnic area. After splashing ‘til your heart’s content, spark up the fire at night (yes, it can get cool enough for a campfire), crack out the marshmallows and kick back for some stargazing, before retiring to their one-, two- and four-bedroom cottages for some well-earned R&R.

Greenlee Cottages

Settle for seclusion with a side of mountain stream when you book into Greenlee Cottages in Canungra. Greenlee offers four self-contained cottages on their working macadamia farm, decked out with all your needs to beat the heat – the signature being their own ‘lazy river’. As the name suggests, a vaycay at Greenlee is best spent floating down Canungra Creek on an inflatable tube while drinking in the serenity (and a local drop). When you’re not splashing in the stream, roll out the picnic rug on its banks, go for a pedal on their complimentary bikes, or sink into comfy chairs on your wooden veranda to watch the colours change in the country skies. In the evening, head out and explore the pub and cafes in nearby Canungra, or show off your chef skills by cooking local ingredients in your cottage kitchenette, the communal pizza oven or complimentary BBQ. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of freshly harvested macadamias from the farm for the ultimate Scenic Rim souvenir.

Kerry Valley Secret

Imagine a secluded creek-side campsite just for you and your loved ones, free from the noise and commotion of any other campers. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Kerry Valley Secret, the ideal spot for groups looking to soak up not just a serene location but water activities too. Nestled in the Lost World region, unzip your tent (or open your caravan/camper trailer) to views of tranquil greenery beside Stockyard Creek and Luke’s Bluff in the distance. To keep cool, simply stroll to the creek mere metres away for a paddle or set out for the Albert River swimming hole for a swim. After floating back down the river, retire to your shady campsite for an afternoon of memory making.

Cedar Creek Lodges

Found in Queensland’s Top Tourism Town for 2022, crisp mountain air and waterholes are in generous supply at the Cedar Creek Lodges on Tamborine Mountain. Treat your partner to a welcome break from the heat and book an in intimate Self-Contained Lodge, Hillside Lodge or stay connected to the outdoors in a luxury setting in their Glamping Tents, where you can make good use of their private outdoor showers, best enjoyed under twinkling stars. For nature bathers, the bubbling Cedar Creek runs through the property, placing cascading rock pools mere steps from your door. By day, soak the stress away in clear mountain water and by night, let the soothing background sounds of the stream wash over you as you relax.

Plunkett Green at Tamborine

For a proper ‘get back to nature’ experience, pitch your tent or drop your caravan legs beside the Albert River at Plunkett Green at Tamborine. The Plunkett Family property has over 150 years of history and now extends their private section of the river to self-contained campers. The property holds plenty of designated areas for caravan, camper trailer, tent, and swag camping, letting guests immerse themselves in the mountain views and tranquil surroundings. Add kayaks, paddleboards, and pool toys to the packing list to be fully prepared for endless fun on the water. For keen anglers, practice your cast with some catch and release fishing off the riverbanks too.

Lost World River Retreat

Treat yourself to a hay-cation with a waterside farmstay at the evocatively named, Lost World River Retreat. With the fresh water Albert River at your doorstep, this luxurious, self-contained, two-bedroom guesthouse caters for up to six people in air-conditioned comfort. Spend lazy days relaxing by the sparkling pool, exploring the many private waterholes where you can swim or picnic immersed in nature, and stargazing by the fire at night. Peacocks, Chickens, Ducks, Guinea Fowl and Turkeys provide entertainment as they free-range the property by day, and there are friendly goats to feed.

Mount Barney Lodge

For those who can’t sit still on their break, quench your thirst for adventure with a stay at Mount Barney Lodge. Take your pick of cabins, homesteads, camp sites or glamping setups, all of which place you a short walk from crystal clear creeks and water holes at their property and running through Mount Barney National Park. Take to the trails to explore the waterways yourself, or signup for a guided hike to secret local watering holes like the Lower Portals. For adventure seekers, see the forest caked in moonlight on a guided night-time hike to Cronan Creek and earn yourself a dreamy swim under a canopy of stars.

Tommerup's Dairy Farm

The Tommerup family love sharing Tommerup’s Dairy Farm with visitors, and their 6th generation working dairy farm is the perfect place to jump in boots ‘n’ all to farm life or just relax in the beautiful surroundings of their farm in the picturesque Kerry Valley of the Scenic Rim. Here, you’ll connect with real farmers and farm animals, learn about life on a dairy farm and experience delicious produce straight from the farm. And better yet, when you stay on their beautiful property in either The Cottage or The Homestead, you can take advantage of long days picnicking in shady enchantment down by Duck Creek or swimming in the Albert River, only a short walk through the paddocks.

Darlington Park and Burgess Park Camping Grounds

For a trifecta of scenery, stillness and shade, give in to your itching for a pitching at Darlington Park and Burgess Park Camping Grounds, just an hours’ drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. While both offer grassy green sites to set up the tent or park up the RV and big rig, take your pick of your preferred pool during your stay, the gentle Albert River at Darlington, or Christmas Creek in Burgess. While the choice is yours, both waterways offer plenty of space to splash, let the little one’s paddle and break that all time rock skimming record of yours. The campsite is also equipped with campfires, electric BBQs, and flushable amenities.

Cedar Glen Farmstay

For a waterside stay paying homage to the days of yesteryear, kick back on the wide verandas of a 1901 homestead or historic cottage at Cedar Glen Farmstay. Snuggled in the foothills of the Lost World region, the property holds a rich history of over 100 years of cattle farming, and guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in farmstay activities on site. Start your day with bushwalking, birdwatching, or simply relaxing in your homely accommodation before treating yourself to a well-earned cool down in a swimming hole of your choice along the 3km of Albert River running through the property (it’s not a matter of how to cool off, but where). For an out of the ordinary activity, test your luck while staying chilled with some river fossicking – just ask the friendly team for more details. Take your pick of the original homestead or recently renovated historic cottages located around the farm, separated for privacy, but close enough for easy access to farm activities and dining.